Connecticut Famous Living Artists and Iconic Paintings
Some of the most influential artists in the world were either born, raised, or currently live in Connecticut, including Elizabeth Peyton and Jasper John. The state used to host famous impressionist art colonies in the past, which is why some of its most iconic paintings follow the style.
- Samples of the work of the additional artists and the iconic paintings of Connecticut are available here.
- Links to further information were provided as inline citations.
- Notable mention: Although he was born in South Caroline, Jasper John, one of the most prominent artists in the world, is based in Sharon, Connecticut.
- Born in Danbury in 1965, Elizabeth Peyton is considered one of the most influential female artists in the world. She is famous for her celebrity portraits. In 2018 alone, auctions of her paintings amounted to a total of $6.1 million, granting her the sixth place in the top 12 female global artists by turnover.
- Born in 1954 in Wallingford, Connecticut, Robert Gober is a sculptor and conceptual artist. He is known for his large room-sized installations, inspired by childhood memories and familiar objects. His work was exhibited in some of the most prestigious museums and galleries in the world, including The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Guggenheim and Jeu de Paume.
- Born in Hartford and currently based in California, James Welling is a conceptual photographer known for his “color-filtered and digitally manipulated photographs.” Some of his work is part of the permanent collections of the Guggenheim Museum, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and was exhibited at the MoMA and other famous museums. He is considered one of the most influential contemporary photographers. In 2014, he was the recipient of the 2014 Infinity Award: Art, granted by the International Center of Photography, New York. He also has a set inspired by Connecticut’s landscape.
- Born in Hartford in 1951, Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s photographs “straddle truth and fiction by combining real people and places—but not necessarily people and places that naturally go together.” His work can be seen in the collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others.
- Named in Connecticut Magazine’s 40 under 40 list, Adrien Broom is a contemporary fine art photographer. In 2016, her series of photographs titled “Being” was featured in the Smithsonian Magazine. Her work was also highlighted in the New York Times and The Huffington Post.
- Born in 1945 in Torrington, Connecticut, Neil Jenny is notorious for his "Bad Paintings." His defiant and unique style was “instrumental in re-establishing figurative painting in America as a serious art form.”
- Born in New Haven, Carroll Dunham is a contemporary painter known for his unique stylization of the human figure and for being the father of actress Lena Dunham. His works can be found in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, among others.
- Famous Pop Art painter John Currin was born in Boulder, Colorado, but raised in Connecticut, where he spent his childhood studying painting. He is best known for satirical figurative paintings which deal with provocative sexual and social themes.
- Haddam — Sybil Huntington May (1758). This is considered the earliest painting of the Connecticut landscape in America.
- Ithiel Town Truss Bridge — George Henry Durrie (1853). The painting shows narrative elements associated with the 1823 truss bridge, “showing the architect comparing the bridge to a sketch in his hands.”
- Home To Thanksgiving — John Schutler after George Henry Durrie (1867). One of the most famous paintings of Currier, it depicts a rural scene near New Haven, capturing the “charm and warmth of a Connecticut farmhouse in winter. And it explores the theme of Thanksgiving, that most New England of all holidays.”
- Connecticut Shore, Winter — John Henry Twachtman (1893). Twachtman inspired many American painters to adopt the style of French impressionists. The artist has several paintings portraying Connecticut’s countryside.
- East Rock, New Haven — John Ferguson Weir (1901). Weir was initially involved in the committee in charge of creating the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, which was completed in 1887 and now stands prominently on top of the East Rock ridge overlooking downtown New Haven. However, he disagreed with the direction and omitted the memorial in his painting. The Florence Griswold Museum stated that the reading of Weir’s painting “may also help us to re-think his exclusion of the Soldiers’ and Sailor’s Monument as a symbolic rejection of honoring Man over Nature.”
- Mason's Island- Henry Ward Ranger (1905). In Mason’s Island, Ranger uses his characteristic golden tones and glazes to portray the ideal landscape. As one critic wrote in 1905, “Fontainebleau has nothing better to offer than what may be seen any day on Mason’s Island.”
- The Ledges, October in Old Lyme, Connecticut — Frederick Childe Hassam (1907). Another resident of the famous colony in Old Lyme, the painting is a “high-key color and active brushwork soon embraced by fellow artists in Old Lyme, shifting the colony’s orientation from Tonalism to Impressionism.”
- Chubb — Beatrice Cuming (1943-1944): Beatrice Cuming’s painting, Chubb, shows a "submarine being built in Groton, Connecticut during World War II. Cuming’s canvas affirms New London’s long connection to the sea and celebrates industry at a time when the nation was consumed with the war effort." She also painted “Saturday Night, New London,” a vibrant expression of the 30s and 40s in Connecticut.